We here at comicattck.net want to send you off into the New Year by knowing what we thought were the big stand out titles of 2009. We encourage you to share with everyone what your favorites were this past year. Here’s hoping that they all continue on strong in 2010!
I suppose this would have to be technically categorized as Uncanny X-Men/Dark Avengers (since those were the two titles to make up this crossover event), and I’d be ok with that as both deserve to be on this list. However, I have to give the nod specifically to the Utopia story arc because it was just THAT amazing. Let’s take a look back at what happened…The X-Men set up shop on Magneto’s former hideout, Asteroid M, in the middle of the ocean, isolating themselves from all homo sapiens…Cyclops emerged as the tough as nails leader of the team we always wanted him to be…Namor’s place with the X-Men was justified…the battle scenes were gorgeous to look at… and the X-Men worked together so perfectly as a team that they were able to defeat the superior Dark Avengers. No other hero group has accomplished this task since Dark Reign began, but the X-Men did. And that’s bad ass.
2. Green Lantern
I don’t think I really need to get into too much detail with this one; Geoff Johns’s run on this series has been nothing short of spectacular and may be solely responsible for bringing popularity back to DC Comics. Who HASN’T heard of Blackest Night? His evolvement of the Green Lantern mythos has been nothing short of awe inspiring, and it provides for a perfect jumping on point for new readers and delivers in every possible aspect.
If you are amongst the many who aren’t reading Jason Aaron’s masterpiece, you should find the gun nearest you and blow your left hand off. You think that’s violent? Well then you DEFINITELY haven’t been reading Scalped, as it’s one of the most gory, brutal, and engrossing comics out there! The story takes place in the most desolate of Indian Reservations, and the cast is made up of a motley crew of gang members, drug dealers, double-agents, hookers, FBI agents, and innocent bystanders who keep you on the edge of your seat with every issue. Seriously, take my word for it and check out vol. 1 in TPB format. You’ll be thanking me later…besides, who really wants to lose a hand anyway?
4. Detective Comics
The entire Batman Reborn event has been pretty solid throughout all its titles, but the stand out series to me is easily Detective Comics. The story is fresh because nobody knows much about Batwoman, so the possibilities are endless. She’s brutal and calculated and incredibly interesting. Plus, the art by JH Williams III is so f&$#ing amazing and original that it’s a shame more people aren’t giving this one a look.
I know, I know, it wasn’t the best series to be produced this year, but can you honestly name another title that had more HOLY S*%#! moments than Ultimatum? From the killing of thousands with the tsunami, to the death of Wasp at the mouth of the Blob, to the deaths of Wolverine and Magneto, to the killing of Cyclops via a bullet being jammed into his head, to The Thing gorily crushing Dr. Doom’s skull in the palm of his hand, Ultimatum had me shocked from beginning to end. And whether you like the Ultimate Universe or not, the shock factor made this series something to remember!
The Stuff of Legend – This one didn’t make the cut only because it had two issues come out the entire year which completed the first story arc. It’s a brilliant piece of story telling, so look for the trade this Spring.
The Sword and Terry Moore’s Echo – These two would have made the top 5 if not for their infrequent publishing schedules. They both focus on strong female protagonists who are the victims of circumstance but are granted incredible power to set things right for themselves. Each series has 3 trades out already, so be sure to check them out!
The best X-title out there, X-Force includes the best of everything that makes X-books great: attention to continuity, action balanced with humor, and plots that are non-stop. Something always happens in this book and you never know what it will be. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost have formed the most badass group of mutants ever, and with art by Mike Choi, Sonia Oback, and Clayton Crain, this book is killer…literally.
Who would have thought a mutant book that doesn’t feature Wolverine at all, much less any A-list X-Man, would have the longevity of X-Factor? Peter David constantly bucks the odds, making this book the oddest, funniest, and most shocking series published by Marvel. This title included my biggest “Holy S#*@!” moment of 2009–the birth of Siryn & Madrox’s baby.
3. Wolverine: Old Man Logan
You simply can’t go wrong with these three names on one book: Mark Millar, Steve McNiven, and Wolverine. This alternate future tale of Logan wrapped up this year, and took everything that made the character of Wolverine great and transformed it into surprisingly nothing we’ve ever seen before with his character. The kicker is that Wolverine doesn’t even pop his claws until the end of this story, and it was still awesome!
4. X-Men: Magneto Testament
One of the best stories Marvel has published ever, in my opinion, like Old Man Logan, featured a character not in his traditional element. This story fleshed out the background of Magneto in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz. It was horrible, beautiful, and meaningful. Forget Hulk, this is Greg Pak’s best work.
5. War of Kings
D n’A have finally made the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe interesting. They’ve been doing this for a while now, but War of Kings really delivered, with tremendous art by Paul Pelletier and a story that was just fantastic Marvel storytelling. Big action, big moments, and a big ending.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy
This issue showed the shocking death of half of the team!
We see Warpath get a whoopin’ from Demon Bear and then get saved by Ghost Rider.
3. New Avengers
Doctor Strange front and center with the “Search for the new Sorcerer Supreme”.
4. Dark Avengers
Dr. Doom vs. Morgan La Fey vs. Iron Patriot, ’nuff said!
5. Black Knight (one-shot)
This was an origin issue but with a twist. Very good and unexpected.
1. Adventure Comics
The return of a classic title, and the return of a great hero. When I heard Geoff Johns was relaunching Adventure Comics with Superboy, I was immediately stoked. After returning to the living in Johns’s Legion of Three Worlds, Conner Kent has a new perspective on life as he tries to salvage what’s left, and start all over. I didn’t intend on following the book any further than the initial relaunch, until the the story took a twist on the last page. Plus the Legion second feature staring Starman was hilarious. Only 5 issues in, and the book is consistently interesting and full of heart.
2. Batman and Robin
Just putting the superstar team of Frank Quietly and Grant Morrison on a title is enough to put it above the rest, but putting the Dynamic Duo back together in the form of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne was really what made this book for me. Right away, Morrison sets the tone of the weird and bumpy road Dick has ahead of him as Batman with new freaky serial murderers, and the smart mouth grandson of Ra’s Al Ghul as a side kick. Dick Grayson may still be struggling to fill the shoes of his mentor, but this book fills my heart with an excitement I wouldn’t have expected from a non-Bruce Batman title.
3. Detective Comics
I’m not sure which is sexier: J.H. Williams III’s stunning artwork, or the main character Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman. Greg Rucka started out with a bang with his odd and unique take on superhero stories, and closes out the year filling in the gaps in the mysterious life of Kane, and her journey to the cape and cowl. This is a bold character fit for her own HBO series. With Greg Rucka holding the pen and J.H. Williams III holding the pencil, this is arguably the best title on the rack.
I can sum this title up in one word: fun. Stephanie Brown is back from the dead, and it looks like she didn’t learn much from her last outing in a mask and cape. Switching from Robin to Batgirl with nothing on her side but an old Cassandra Cain costume and her big mouth, Stephanie deals with life as a lone vigilante and college student, and somehow has even more disregard for the rules of superheroes than before. At least until Barbara Gordon has to put her in her place. Bryan Q. Miller has given Stephanie Brown a snarky, but endearing voice that is a blast, and at times hilarious, to follow.
5. Blackest Night
The series is just epic! It’s everything I could want from a superhero comic book. With every book Geoff Johns writes, he proves why he is the best at what he does.
1. Blackest Night
To me this has been the best series of the year; after introducing the new colors and their meanings during the preludes, this series has brought them to the forefront. Emphasizing each of the primary members of the various corps, while at the same time keeping the story grounded with Earth’s heroes, and with #6 bringing new members into the various corps. This is one event that has truly lived up to expectations, something none of the major events of recent years have even come close to doing.
2. Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds
Finally bringing back the Legion team that I started with, this series also explained the main three Legions and what worlds they came from. All while tying the events to current DC continuity in a way that’s better than the team has ever been done before.
3. Green Lantern
With the “Rage of the Red Lanterns” and “Agent Orange” story arcs, this series more than any other provided the lead-in to Blackest Night. I consider Green Lantern to be the best regular series on the market today, with every issue this year being one of the top titles of the month.
4. Project Superpowers
I’ve always enjoyed seeing the Golden Age heroes return to comics, and Project Superpowers is probably the most ambitious attempt to revive these Public Domain heroes. With emphasis on many of my long time favorites; Green Lama, the original Daredevil, and Black Terror, this series has been every bit as good as the original. It continues to bring in a larger cast and a new faction in the battle with the return of the original sidekicks.
What can I say, I live just outside of Metropolis and the Legion is probably my all time favorite title. While many have complained that Superman is not even in his own book, having Mon-El take over the book has been the main draw for me. And with his adding the “S” to his uniform with #694, this series has really been integral to the current Superman Family story.
1. Blackest Night
Five years of storytelling comes together into one of the best crossover epics ever written! Geoff Johns has managed to revitalize the Green Lantern mythos and bring it to a level almost unparalleled among current comics.
2. Justice Society of America
The original superhero team continues to ride high! 2009 saw the conclusion of the Gog storyline and the redirection of the JSA that is more action-oriented with a new creative team. It’s still one of the best books on the market!
3. The Stuff of Legend
A whimsical, original tale with gorgeous art and a lot of heart. I was smitten from the Free Comic Book Day preview!
4. Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds
Superboy and Kid Flash return — as does the original Legion! Easily the best of the Final Crisis tie-ins.
5. Power Girl
I have to give props to my favorite character getting her own series at last.
1. Locke & Key: Headgames
By far hands down my favorite of the year. I don’t think that there is a thing this creative team can do to pull me in more. When I got issue #1 I was excited. Then when #2 came I reread #1 and then #2 and that was the trend. I just had to read each issue over and over again, and then I got the trade!
I love me some Futurama, and this year left us with some great issues. My favorite of course involved the What If Machine. It all just makes me happy inside.
3. North 40
This was the best surprise of the year. I had read PS238 and knew of Aaron Williams’s work before hand, but I did not expect this. Add to that the amazing artwork of Fiona Staples, and it was a sure fire hit from the start. Now I only wish there was more of it.
4. Radical Comics (publisher)
Yeah I know I know, they’re a publisher, but the strength of the books they put out this year alone – FVZA #1 was amazing, Incarate shocked me on how good it was, Hotwire was a non-stop thrill ride, Shrapnel took me to another world, City of Dust was monsterific, and The Last Days of American Crime just started! Whew, I am out of breath after that! Read their books!
Sure I am a horror junkie, and believe it or not, this one almost passed me by. Luckily it didn’t because I am just in love with everything that is going on here. Sure there has been a slow issue or two, but overall I just like where it’s going. Now be warned though that it’s as graphic as they come, so it’s not for everyone, but it sure is for me.
5b. Wulf & Batsy Vol.1
By far the collection of the year. First of all the story blew me away; I could not have seen that coming. Then the artwork is just to die for. This is what you get when you mix Casper with Crossed. Nonstop fun that I wish hadn’t ended. Then all the extras just push it over the top.
1. Skip Beat
Skip Beat continues to be one of the best shojo comics out there. I could talk for ages about it, or I could just direct you to the review I did here.
2. Fruits Basket
Furuba finished up this year, at last. The last two volumes came out this year, providing a nicely wrapped up ending to one of the top selling shojo titles in America.
With RASL, Jeff Smith provides us with another unique world with intriguing characters. It’s much darker than Bone, which, while it had dark elements, had a lot of lighthearted humor. RASL is a gritty, black and white, science fiction tale of humanity.
4. Bride of the Water God
The gorgeously drawn Bride of the Water God continued to impress this year. A rich story and some of the finest artwork I’ve seen.
5. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman had everything I wanted. A little romance, a little Greek mythology, some ass kicking, plenty of girl power, good writing, good art…. I seem to get on perfectly well with Gail Simone. I hope she stays with the title for a long while to come.
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Official Casebook (2 volumes) – Honorable mention as they’re difficult to pick up if you’re not a fan of the video game series. But if you are a fan, they’re absolutely fantastic.
What were your favorite titles this year?